With more than 25 players drafted into Major League Baseball, UBC’s baseball program has developed into a first class operation under the guidance of longtime director Terry McKaig.
And now, UBC Baseball finally has its crown jewel.
The new $5 million yet-to-be-named baseball stadium is open, and is the final piece of the ambitious $110 million investment in Thunderbird Park that began in 2008.
Other additions to Thunderbird Park include:
- UBC Baseball Rose Indoor Training Centre
- Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, a 7,200-seat arena used for hockey and other events
- Renovated Wright Field for field hockey
- Gerald McGavin UBC Rugby Centre
- National Soccer Development Centre building (used by the Vancouver Whitecaps)
- Rashpal Dhillon track and field oval
- UBC Tennis Centre
- Surrounding turf fields
“Ten years ago, this was a sea of waterlogged grass fields and some aging facilities, the transformation has been remarkable,” said Kavie Toor, UBC’s senior director of facilities, recreation, and sports partnerships.
UBC is hoping this can become its own mini-version of Nat Bailey Stadium.
The new baseball grandstand seats 480 people, with both individual and bench seating, and includes a press box at the top of the bleachers. Other new instalments include a new scoreboard, professional grade lights, and big-league dugouts.
It has an artificial playing surface to endure Vancouver’s rainy weather, but you’d never know it from pictures. The two-tone ‘grass cut’ gives it a natural, first-class look.
This is now the premiere university baseball facility in Canada, which also gets use from youth clubs.
“The baseball stadium now completes a $110M transformation of Thunderbird Park,” Toor added. “We are so proud of the diversity of uses in this park. We have students, kids, adults, pro-athletes, varsity athletes, weekend warriors, recreational athletes, and everything in between taking place at this precinct.”
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The university baseball season is coming to a close, with the last homestand taking place this weekend, with back-to-back double headers on Saturday and Sunday against the Corban Warriors from Oregon.
Coached by former Major Leaguer Chris Pritchett, the T-Birds enjoyed a 10-game winning streak during the soft-launch of the stadium, beginning in March. Their new home has already brought them good luck, with UBC holding an 11-2 record over the last three weekends of play.